Lichens are fascinating and complex organisms. They are not a single organism but rather a combination of two organisms which live together in a symbiotic relationship, fungus and algae. I noticed some very interesting lichen on a bonsai oak tree that my mother grew from an acorn she found about 40 years ago. She potted it in successive bonsai pots until it got to its present pot, a 13X9X4 inch pot in which it has lived for at least the past twenty years. It has suffered from neglect in recent years but it is still a magnificent specimen and I have always admired it. Its branches are covered in lichen. The early evening light was fading rapidly but I took several macro shots of lichen on one of the branches and blended them into a single shot. The area of lichen pictured is about 3/8 by 5/8 of an inch and there are at least a couple of different forms of lichen on this branch. Since lichens are able to make their own food with moisture and sunlight, they have no need to parasitize the oak tree. Instead they add beauty and interest to the plant. I hope to bring the bonsai oak back to its former elegance and keep the lichen as well.


One thought on “2015—Symbiosis

  1. Wonderful macro- and fascinating story! I want to see a photo of the little neglected tree- I just love that you are going to take care of it now. Your mom was an amazing woman in so many ways.

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